FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Please feel free to send us a question if you do not see yours on this list. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org). This page will be updated periodically.
What is Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC)?
The role of OBCDC is to develop and revitalize the community by uniting and empowering residents, business leaders and government around plans and initiatives that achieve social, economic and civic improvement. The CDC serves the neighborhoods of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. There are approximately 40,000 people who live in these neighborhoods.
How is OBCDC Funded?
The CDC receives several grants from the City of Cleveland from various departments. The major grant comes from the City’s Community Development Department. These funds are knows as Community Development Block Grant funds which come from the Federal Government through HUD and then filters to the City of Cleveland to us. These operating CDBG dollars for a majority of our programs come in two streams, one from the City’s Community Development Department and another from an allocation from the councilmen that serve the wards within the boundaries of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. However, all of those funds, nearly $600,000 is managed through one contract and budget through the City’s community development department.
The CDC also receives funds from other City departments such as Health and Economic Development depending on the program. Our new Lead Abatement program is funded through Health and we also have economic development funding for some of the CDCs commercial projects. There are also funds from private foundations as well as earned income from the CDCs publications like the Old Brooklyn News and the Business Directory. Finally, there is a revenue stream from membership as well. Approximately, 70% of OBCDC’s funds are from government sources the rest is from private foundation and earned income sources.
How often do you report your programs services to the City of Cleveland and how is the organization paid for the services provided?
The CDC writes an extensive monthly report that includes time sheets from all employees and a review of specific activities for the month. Our funding is reimbursable; there are no up front funds from the City. Therefore, we also have to account for all spending and make what is called a “draw” request each month to the City in this report. It usually takes the City from 4-8 weeks before we receive the check for the past months draw request. This is also true for any of our other City of Cleveland contracts. Reports are written, accounts are made of spending and then we are reimbursed.
What are the guiding principles of the organization and staff?
There is one document that guides the governance of the organization and that is the Code of Regulations, found in Organizational Documents. The other document is an internal document for organizational policy and is called Employment Policies. That is also on the website in Organizational Documents.
Is the CDC financially audited?
The CDC is required by the City of Cleveland to have a once a year audit and to submit a management letter to the City that shows the organization to be in compliance. The CDC has never received a negative management letter. Most nonprofits are audited once a year. The CDC is required by the Federal government to submit a 990 tax form each year. The most recent years 990’s are on the Web site.
What are the CDCs overhead/operations costs?
Our operations for the past fiscal year (July 10-June 11) were 8% of our entire expenses of $749,633, with publications being 6% and Program Services being 86%.
How many people in in your service area do you serve in a year?
It depends on the programs. Overall, last fiscal year we served nearly 4,000 people through referrals and direct assistance in all of our program areas: Crime and Safety, Residential Services, Commercial/Industrial Services, Code Enforcement, Neighborhood Clean-up campaigns, and Publications.
How often does your staff go out into the community to meet with people?
Staff is in the community every day meeting with residents and businesses either individually or in a group setting. The main purpose for those meetings are to assess the conditions of people's homes or businesses in relationship to code enforcement issues or to help understand why they may need a home repair grant or loan. There may also be safety concerns, the desire to rent a commercial space, or to make improvements to a storefront. There may also be neighborhood disputes that need to be mediated and so forth.
Are there any grants available for home repairs?
The grants that are available are mostly for senior citizens. The Department of Aging offers a small grant, Senior Housing Assistance Program (SHAP) to seniors (60+) and disabled low-income homeowners who reside in (and own) single or two-family homes in need of critical, health, safety and emergency maintenance repairs. There are some smaller grants for non-seniors but they are limited. However, remember, as with any grant there is a waiting list and emergencies do take precedence.
What if I am not eligible for any grants and need to repair my home?
There are numerous low-interest loans available either through the City, banks or other non-profit agencies. The residential program manager at Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation can assist you with determining what programs you may be eligible for depending on what your financial status is and your home repair needs.
I am behind on my mortgage. Is there any financial help to get me back on track?
There is financial help available through the Cuyahoga County Rescue Fund. However, it depends on your situation. Also, there are banks that have worked out agreements with the East Side Organizing Project. The residential staff will help you decide which program would be best for you.
What can I do about the vacant and abandoned property next door to me?
The CDC is tracking vacant and abandoned properties and does research on the property to find the responsible owner which is either a private owner or a mortgage company. Call OBCDC if you have a vacant and abandoned property on your street. Also, we can take action on Ohio H.B. 294 passed last year which allows properties that are delinquent on their taxes (only) to be put into foreclosure and turned over to the city land bank for development.
What does the housing team at OBCDC do?
The housing team which consists of two residential program staff members and the code enforcement manager work together in an effort to remedy a variety of neighborhood problems, and at the same time offer or refer people to the appropriate program that will lead to a specific remedy. The Code Enforcement program works closely with this team so that any violations can first be remedied if possible through referral to the programs below. If a violator does not comply and does not repair the violation, they are then referred to the City’s Building and Housing department and possibly also to housing court where the violator may be adjudicated.
What is Neighborhood Watch and how do I start a program on my street?
Neighbors joining together with law enforcement to be responsible for safety of their neighborhoods homes and places of employment. To get started, call Barb Spaan at 216-459-1000. She will ask you for a date, time and place to hold your first meeting and she will review with your neighbors how the program works.
Where can I learn about safety problems in my neighborhood?
On the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Applewood Center a Second District crime meeting is held that reviews crime issues in this district. If you have something specific to report or have a concern about, call Barb Spaan at 216-459-1000.
How bad are our neighborhoods compared to other parts of Cleveland?
Old Brooklyn is the second safest place in the City to live.
Why should you get involved in a safety/neighborhood watch program?
When a group of neighbors get involved you can make a difference together. There is unity in numbers and more creative problem solving when information is shared.
Do I have to have an occupancy permit from the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing?
Yes you do. Please call the City at 216-664-2284 for business specific information.
Do I have to have a permit to install a business sign on my building?
Yes, they are required; please call the City at 216-664-2284 for sign permits.
Is my building eligible for the Cleveland Storefront Renovation Program?
There are certain guidelines that are part of this program. For more information call OBCDC at 216-459-1000 and ask for the commercial manager.
Will the city collect trash from a dumpster?
Generally, no. Dumpster service is contracted with private refuse removal services. The City Refuse Department can provide temporary dumpster service for special projects like on a fee basis.
How do I learn what zoning classification my business requires?
Call OBCDC at 216-459-1000 and ask for the commercial manager.
How can I make a positive impact in my neighborhood?
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation has a volunteer
program and is in need of volunteers to assist senior citizens with minor
chores i.e. snow removal, lawn maintenance. Also, there are beautification
projects that are done in the spring and summer. If you would like to
make a difference in your neighborhood call OBCDC to receive an application
and discuss the various neighborhood needs, 216-459-1000.
Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
2339 Broadview Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Phone: 216-459-1000 Fax: 216-459-1741